There is still a lot of confusion about self-publishing out in the writing world and I suspect the lines are blurring again. There are various options:
- Pay someone to publish your book for you. This used to be called vanity publishing. Basically it doesn't matter how good or bad your book is, there is always someone who will publish it simply because you are paying them to do it.
- Small independant firms, mostly in the US, may choose to take up your book and publish it in e-format. This route requires that you submit the usual partial chapters, synopsis, cover letter and sometimes a plan for how you intend to promote your book if it is published, by e-mail. Everything is done by e-mail. They pay all publishing costs, and you receive a royalty on sales. Editing standards are as variable as the reliability of the company, and the range goes from very good to dismal.
- Larger independant firms, still mostly in the US, who have been around for a decade and have a stable of known authors on their books. They are as hard to break into as the big publishers. Submissions are often closed for months at a time.
- Then there is the fairly new avenue of going with Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing programme. For this, you need a fairly good knowledge of formatting, but it is possible to upload a Word programme ms. onto Kindle all by yourself. You decide how much to charge for the book, provide the cover, write the blurb, and promote it yourself. You are managing director of your own publishing company, but you are also the skivvy who checks the books. Royalties depend on sales, but it costs you nothing to put your book up there. Great for backlist, or for those tired of submitting, waiting, and getting rejections; or those books where the publisher has suddenly gone out of business, as happened with me.